FORMER Essendon caretaker coach and Geelong player Matthew Egan has been appointed head of player development.
The 33-year-old was an outstanding key defender in a brief career, which was sadly cut short by a serious foot injury. He has since become a highly-respected coach, guiding Essendon in the last three games of the 2015 AFL season.
Egan played 59 matches for the Cats from 2005-07 and was named All-Australian in 2007, before a fractured navicular bone prematurely ended his career.
Egan suffered it in round 22, 2007, during a marking contest with Lions great Jonathan Brown. He required immediate surgery to have screws inserted in his foot. It proved to be his last AFL match.
After retiring, Egan was a development coach with Geelong from 2009-11.
He was then an assistant coach with the Bombers from 2012-15 and head of development and VFL coach this year.
Egan already has some strong relationships at Melbourne, having worked with coaches Simon Goodwin, Brendan McCartney and Craig Jennings at Essendon.
McCartney was also Egan’s line coach at Geelong. Egan was also a former teammate of Shannon Byrnes, who works in welfare at Melbourne, at the Cats.
Egan said it was a great opportunity to work with a young, emerging list and join Goodwin on his journey.
“It’ll be similar to what Brendan McCartney did and I’ll be helping out with the development and working closely with the younger players with their footy and their life,” he told melbournefc.com.au.
“I’m really excited, after five years at Essendon. I felt like I was ready for a change and I wanted to work with some really good people and a young list and I ended up here.
“I had a really good relationship with Goody at Essendon and we went through a few tough years at Essendon, so we’ve built a strong relationship there. We used to spend a lot of time together and I’m really excited to be on the journey with him.
“Macca was probably the biggest influence in my playing career – he was my line coach and I got on really well with him. He was someone that invested a lot of time into me as a player and person.
“I’m not only excited about working with them, but also a lot of people I haven’t worked with, but have heard a lot of good things about.”
McCartney will now move into a newly created role of player/coach performance manager.
The role is designed to oversee the development of our coaches, as well as driving performance of our player group. McCartney will continue to work closely in the player development area with Egan.
Egan said he was ready for the next challenge in his coaching pathway.
“Next year is my ninth year coaching, so I’ve got a variety of roles under my belt now. I learned a lot in my Geelong days, under Chris Scott in the 2011 premiership year and I had five years at Essendon and did three different roles,” he said.
“I feel like this is the right path for me and I’m looking forward to working with a group that is hellbent on getting better and improving – that’s the reason why I chose Melbourne.
“It’s a new challenge and I’m just excited about helping and doing what I need to do. I learned a lot at Essendon and had a great time there and worked with some great coaches, but felt like I needed a change and a new environment and I’m really excited to be working with the people of Melbourne.”